I’m amazed at how little I know about the natural world. It seems everywhere I look, and everything I read, I am reaffirmed of this truth.
I began homeschooling my daughter, Page, a few weeks ago.
Because we are Christians, I knew I wanted to use the Bible as the foundation of our “school,” and I thought it only appropriate to start at the beginning.
I purchased a creation unit study based on Genesis 1. I knew I would supplement it with other material. I have never only used what was/is in front of me. For whatever reason, I am always compelled to add-on.
In this case, I knew we needed information from a variety of sources and a variety of viewpoints. Although I believe the Bible to be the ultimate source of Truth, I also want Page to know other viewpoints are out there. For our time in the study of life’s beginnings, I wanted to pursue and investigate more than one theory. For nine weeks, we have learned about young earth creationism, old earth creationism, Darwinian evolution, theist evolution and intelligent design. We have researched. We have watched The History Channel. We have searched the internet. We have visited the library, and checked out books (children’s picture books and those on a more advanced reading level) and videos. We have read National Geographic magazine. We have been tutored online through teaching videos.
I’m pretty confident we have read Genesis 1 more times than you who are reading this have. And we still don’t know all the answers. There is so much controversy out there surrounding the origins of life. And the controversy isn’t just secular versus religious. It is also religious versus religious. Many Christians are fighting with each other about the age of the earth. For the young earth creationists, this means a strict adherence to a literal six-day creation and therefore a 6,000- to 10,000-year-old earth.
The old earth creationists accept mainstream science’s claim that the earth is a few billion years old. Theistic evolutionists believe that life began through the process of evolution, but that God is responsible for it. Of course, they are at odds with those who claim Charles Darwin came up with the only possible answer with his idea that everything came about, and continues to, through natural selection.
There are also those who advocate intelligent design, which claims that life is too complex to have come about by only natural, random processes. As far as I can tell, the ID camp adheres to some form of creationism, but refuse to name God as the Creator in an attempt to have alternatives to evolution taught in public schools.
Somehow, as we have learned more about the different theories, I have grown somewhat weary of all of those vehemently arguing one theory over another. It seems many proponents are more concerned with having the other side proven wrong than in the search for the truth. But...there is a positive side to having been thrown a lot of contradicting and confusing information on science and religion. It as convinced me that God will not be boxed into ANY theory, and that’s all any of these are. I have grown more respectful for life and the creation of it through our study of the beginnings of the earth.
My personal view, as limited as it may still be, is that the truth of the origins of life probably stands somewhere between old earth creationism and theist evolution. I do not question God’s hand in creating everything, out of nothing. I also do not doubt He could have accomplished that in ANY manner HE chose. I believe life does evolve and change and adapt to our its environment, but I reject the idea that natural causes control everything. I do not believe faith contradicts science or that science contradicts faith. I believe God put it all together and wants us to accept that we may never fully understand it all.
I realize there are also controversies about Genesis 1. Is it literal? Is it poetic? Are the days 24-hour units of time as we interpret them today? Are they more akin to long periods of time or eras? These are questions, along with many more, I will be asking once I cross over to the other side. But until then, I pray we Christians can band together on the essentials of the faith: God created us, we fell, He saved us through His Son and Jesus will be back for full restoration of His Kingdom.
I have certainly been one to argue a doctrine to the death, at the expense of more important things, but this exploration of creation in our homeschool is opening my eyes to a broader and deeper faith. It turns out that Page, and her dad, have been right all along - science is interesting. I have become intrigued by science as it shows itself as God's mechanism for explaining the natural world. God has never seemed bigger, and the world has never seemed more His.